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There’s just about a month until Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters. It might be the most eagerly anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe film yet. And yes, that’s a big claim. 2018’s Black Panther was also one of the most hotly anticipated films, and it lived up to its promise. It grossed $1.3 billion and is the 14th highest grossing films of all time. It was the MCU’s first film that centered on a Black character. Of course, Marvel did have the Wesley Snipes-led Blade franchise, but that franchise pre-dates the interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe. And Mike Colter starred in two seasons of the Luke Cage series, one season of Jessica Jones and one season of The Defenders on Netflix, but those were TV shows (and we’re not sure it’s part of the current MCU, but we’re hoping to see Colter’s Luke Cage again).

Cage and Blade were anti-heroes; Chadwick Boseman’s King T’Challa wasn’t just a hero, he was royalty. He ruled over a hidden African nation, Wakanda, that had more advanced technology than anywhere in the world. Fans loved the film and eagerly hoped for a sequel. And one was in the works: back in 2019, Boseman was on-hand at San Diego Comic-Con to announce the second Black Panther film. Of course, just a few months later, the actor tragically died at the age of 43.

Marvel Studios rightfully decided not to recast King T’Challa. And also rightfully, they decided to keep telling stories of Wakanda. Wakanda was more than just another cog in Marvel’s massive machine; it was a source of inspiration for millions all over the world. But, clearly, Marvel and director Ryan Coogler needed to go back and re-write a Black Panther movie, without the Black Panther we had known. From what we’ve seen in the trailer, Wakanda is mourning for T’Challa, as the cast — and we, the audience — mourn for Chadwick Boseman. There’s a sense of purpose to this film that most films – thankfully – don’t have to deal with. As Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige said, “We’re going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud.” We’ll see, when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens on November 11. For now, here are some suggestions to get you prepared for the film.

  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)

    T’Challa – he was still Prince T’Challa at this point – makes his debut here. Captain America (Chris Evans)’s brainwashed friend “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan) attacked a U.N. meeting, killing T’Challa’s father, King T’Chaka (John Kani). T’Challa wants revenge and aligns with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)’s Avengers to bring Cap, Bucky and their friends to justice. Ultimately, T’Challa realizes that Bucky’s actions are not his fault, and agrees to bring him to Wakanda for deprograming. There was a lot of moving parts to this film – it also introduced Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and introduced Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man to the Avengers – but the story still took precedence and it’s one the MCU’s best movies.

  • Black Panther (2018)

    It picks up shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War, but director/co-writer Ryan Coogler made sure that Black Panther stood on its own. Beyond being a Marvel movie, it was a story about fathers and sons, colonialism and globalism, set to a fantastic soundtrack produced by Kendrick Lamar and featuring a stacked cast of great talent: besides Boseman, there was Michael B. Jordan as N’Jadaka / Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (T’Challa’s lost cousin and arch-enemy). Lupita Nyong’o played Nakia, T’Challa’s ex-lover and an undercover agent for Wakanda. Danai Gurira played Okoye, the head of the Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s all-female special forces. Martin Freeman reprised his role as CIA agent Everett K. Ross. Daniel Kaluuya played W’Kabi: T’Challa’s best friend, and the head of security for the Border Tribe. Winston Duke played M’Baku: the leader of Wakanda’s mountain tribe, the Jabari. Letitia Wright plays Shuri, T’Challa’s genuis 16-year-old sister who designs new technology for Wakanda. Angela Bassett was Ramonda, T’Challa and Shuri’s mother, the Queen Mother of Wakanda. Forest Whitaker as Zuri, an elder statement of Wakanda. Andy Serkis repreised his role as Ulysses Klaue (from Avengers: Age of Ultron), a black market arms dealer and smuggler. Florence Kasumba reprised her role as Dora Milaje warrior Ayo (she first appeared in Captain America: Civil War as well). At the beginning of the film, Wakanda is hidden from the world, who believe it to be an impoverished nation (and they are fine with that). By the end of the film, they are ready to present themselves to the world as the most technologically advanced nation on Earth.

  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

    LIke Catpain America: Civil War, this movie does a lot of heavy lifting, bringing together the Avengers, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The third act of the film takes place in Wakanda and involves T’Challa, Okoye, M’Baku, Shuri and Ayo. It ends on a major cliffhanger.

  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)

    T’Challa is gone, and Okoye seems to be in charge of Wakanda. Wakanda doesn’t have a huge presence in Endgame, but the moment the King returns — in light of Chadwick Boseman’s passing — is more moving than directors the Russo Brothers could have anticipated.

  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)

    So far, the only major Wakandan character that we’ve seen since Avengers: Endgame is Ayo, who shows up with some of the Dora Milaje in the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier; we learn that she worked with Bucky when he was rehabbing in Wakanda between Civil War and Infinity War and we get a little more insight into her in her brief appearance in this series. We also learn that the new Captain America’s new gear is likely Wakandan.

  • Reading Materials!

    The Black Panther “Sturm und Drang” storyline from 2001 (written by acclaimed Black Panther writer Christopher Priest) sees a conflict between Wakanda and Atlantis. Atlantis’s king, Namor, is the antagonist in Wakanda Forever, but in the film, he hails from Talokan. You can read comic books digitally, via Amazon’s “Comixology” app, or via Marvel Unlimited. Following the events of Wakanda Forever, she’ll have her own series on Disney+.